(By Joseph Mattera) As we read the first historical account of the early church found in the book of Acts, we are able to see a pattern of seven essential threats that could have wiped the church off the map! Interesting enough, these seven threats are still hazards to the contemporary church. The following are seven crises the church faced and how they overcame.
1. Outside Persecution – As we read in Chapters 3 and 4 in the book of Acts, the religious leaders warned the apostles not to preach any more in the name of Jesus. This threat had huge implications since it ostracized them both institutionally and socially from their friends and family in Jerusalem. Instead of quitting or fleeing, they prayed for boldness to be His witness in spite of the persecution (Acts 4:29). This serves as a lesson to the contemporary church. Instead of merely praying for persecution to stop—we should believe God to fill us with the Spirit of boldness to proclaim the truth in the midst of our adversaries.
2. Internal Compromise – When Satan saw that he could not stop the growing Jesus movement with outside persecution, he attempted to infiltrate and compromise the church from within. In Acts 5 (5:1-12) we read the account of how a married couple named Ananias and Sapphira lied to the apostles regarding the percentage of a property sale they were donating to the church. It seems they were attempting to leverage their resources for honor and prestige in the new Jesus movement. If successful, they would have set an erroneous standard of using pretense for church influence and power—which could have corrupted the foundation of the church and led to its early demise, CONTINUE